“…those who want a hard-hitting, emotionally charged crime story should place this near the top of their reading list.”
“13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession is truly a complex and multi-faceted novel. To call it a crime story would be simplistic: woven within the plot are insights on obsessive behavior patterns, how music can provide subliminal impulses toward destructive actions, and how even religion can provoke a turn to the dark side of death and destruction. The characters are varied, with plausible motivations, often deeply rooted in their pasts. Through their actions, reactions and decisions, an absorbing Biblical mythology comes to life within a modern underworld of human trafficking.
The story opens with a teenager named Chris, who has a deadly premeditated violence in mind for his mother’s boyfriend—and who winds up shooting the man dead in a very deliberate manner. Chris’s mother is also found murdered in a grisly fashion, and other than Chris’s infatuation with a rock star’s demonic stage act, Detective William Hursel finds few clues as to ‘why’. With Chris vanished and now a fugitive, it is up to Hursel to piece together prior events. What he discovers opens his eyes to another world.
Moving between Chris’ life and band leader Josh’s affluent existence, Hursel uncovers dark and complex links between the two and their experiences. Faced with the evidence of those connections, Josh decides to clear his name by joining the probe into what really happened. Hard truths emerge, lending insights into Josh’s motivations not only for creating the kind of image that lures young fans to his brand of music, but for building a lifestyle that defies any kind of faith at all. Throughout, flashbacks of degrading childhood mistreatment drive an evolving darkness that sends ripples into the present.
Also at stake are beliefs and interactions between secular psychologists, their patients, and lives changed by death, faith, and abuse. It is a story about lifetimes of fear, plots of revenge, and reactions to messages begun in early years; but it is also about choices made along the way: “Chris took his time, relating to each. He identified most strongly with those punishers who, with jaws set and eyes alight, broadcast the cold satisfaction of exacting revenge.”
With lyrics that express themes of spiritual longing, thwarted parenting, and perversion and its translation, Josh’s music becomes intrinsic to the story, driving Chris and others while also mirroring the circumstances of their lives: “Josh’s hostile rasping gave way to a mind-bending guitar solo. Bristling with high-octane fuzz, the instrumental sagged and wobbled as Mike waved the whammy bar and pulled aggressively on his strings. His wild discordance sent the crowd into an apoplectic frenzy.”
As the plot slinks through a world of violence, readers witness the lasting impacts of poisoned faith and childhood violence on the human psyche. The tortured protagonists experience wickedness differently and take two different courses, one struggling against the downward spiral of his history, while the other follows a path that ends in brutality and inhumanity.
For some readers, this account of obsession, abuse, and redemption could strike too close to home; but those who want a hard-hitting, emotionally charged crime story should place this near the top of their reading list. 13:24′s emotional impact is solid and compelling, dark though it is, and it will keep readers guessing about all the connections and results right up to the blistering conclusion.”
- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon